MILAN: PRETTY WOMEN AND BOND GIRLS
MARNI HAD A THIRTIES LOOK, ANNA MOLINARI THREW A PARTY, MASKA WENT WELL-TAILORED AND, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, BOND BABES RULED AT MILA SCHON AS THE MILAN COLLECTIONS CONTINUED.

Marni: Remember the good old springtime? You know, the season when women get to wear all those pretty, light and charming clothes? Consuelo Castiglioni does, and she captivated her audience at Marni on Thursday with what felt like a true spring collection. Think of the Thirties and girls strolling along the boardwalk in some seaside town on the Fourth of July. Their seersucker skirts swing in the breeze, and they wear sailor sweaters and ribbon-trimmed coats in red, white and blue. At the church picnic, it’s itsy-bitsy rosebud prints, while turn-of-the-century lingerie and homey antique florals are just the thing for a game of croquet. For evening, the slick cropped fur jackets worn with glittering tulle skirts could take them back to the boardwalk for a moonlit stroll. It all came off like a dream, and for those weary after a week’s worth of harder fare, Castiglioni’s show was the one you hoped would never end.

Anna Molinari: Does Rosella Tarabini know how to throw a party! That’s just what she did in her spring collection for Anna Molinari — treating her audience to a raucous romp. Tarabini sent out a parade of girls in delightful, fun frocks and some ready-to-party pieces, fit for both the Fifties deb and the Eighties glam rocker. Take your pick: gold metallic cocktail jackets and coats; flouncy skirts with ruffled hems; sweetheart-printed knits and dresses and a darling silver sequin strapless party dress, poufed up with tulle and decorated with clusters of paillettes. On the flip side, her rock girls opted for sexy black jersey shirts that slipped off one shoulder and were paired with leggings — pure sizzlers — as were the party frocks splattered with grommets and the tiered floral dresses, cinched with a wide patent leather belt.

Maska: Some designers are obsessed with pushing the envelope, while others are taking the retro route. And then there are those who still favor the less-is-more approach with feminine, wearable clothes. That was the case at Maska, where Istvan Francer showed his first collection since joining the house last March. The designer advocates tailoring, a craft he perfected during his 13 years at Donna Karan working on both men’s and women’s lines.
“When I arrived, it was evident that tailoring was the essence of the company, and I’m obviously exploiting that aspect,” said Francer, before the show. “The fabrics are feminine, but the cut is definitely sartorial. For me, what’s sexy aren’t showy, tight clothes, but the way they move against the body.”
Francer kept his word with a well-executed collection that will make a woman look chic, whether she’s headed for the office or a Hamptons weekend retreat.
Jackets stole the spotlight as Francer worked them in a multitude of forms: sharply tailored blazers, buttonless numbers closed with thick belts and longer versions in supple napa or soft Prince-of-Wales linen. They were usually worn over sexy jersey tops, sometimes sprinkled with sequins, and skinny pants or knee-length leather skirts.

Lawrence Steele: Designing Jennifer Aniston’s wedding dress has had a big influence on Lawrence Steele. This season, in fact, the designer did a collection composed almost completely of eveningwear, and it looked great. He showed his glamorous side, leaving many of the usual over-the-top looks behind and opting for a little more restraint. The tux was the starting point: There were great cummerbund tuxedo pants, a floral dress with an attached, undone bow tie and a tied version at the neck of a halter swimsuit. Moving on to a bit of flash, Steele showed racy red sequin looks and even his take on military — one of the season’s big trends — was sexy.The marabou puff pieces were a tad kooky — but, hey, it was all in fun.

Mila Schon: If anyone out there is wardrobing a James Bond movie, Mila Schon has the stuff to outfit those 007 girls: minidresses in gold metal mesh and crocheted leather; sexy jumpsuits with flowing pants; white leather tunics slit down to the navel; metallic leather HotPants, and weightless wrap dresses embroidered with a cascade of silver glitter.
Clearly the new owners of the firm — Mariella Burani Fashion Group, which bought it a year ago — are taking the company in a new direction, and they’re banking on the trend factor. Traditionally understated, Schon seems to be searching for a new aesthetic groove, and this sexy outing was a big improvement over fall’s leaden knits. The collection had a Sixties feel with its oversized stripes, A-line shapes, low-slung waists and short skirt lengths. But the team at Schon could have dumped the long necklace strands dangling from too many dresses, belts and skirts. No Bond girl would get tangled up with such gimmickry.

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